One in Every Two Female OFWs is an Unskilled Worker (Results from the 2013 SURVEY ON OVERSEAS FILIPINOS)

Reference Number: 2014-031
Release Date: April 30, 2014

The number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who worked abroad at anytime during the period April to September 2013 was estimated at 2.3 million.  The Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) or those with existing work contract abroad comprised 96.2 percent (2.2 million) of the total OFWs during the period April to September 2013 (Table 1).

There were more males than females among the OFWs, with the male OFWs comprising 50.3 percent of the total OFWs. Female OFWs were generally younger than male OFWs, with more than half (53.8%) of the female OFWs belonging to the age group 25 to 34 years. In comparison, male OFWs in this age group made up 42.1 percent.  Male OFWs aged 45 years and older accounted for 22.0 percent of all male OFWs while their female counterparts in this age group made up 10.8 percent (Table 1).

Twenty-five percent of the male OFWs were trades and related workers and 21.5 percent were machine operators and assemblers.  In comparison, half (51.4%) of the female OFWs were unskilled workers such as household helpers, cleaners, launderers and related workers while 19.8 percent were service workers and shop and market sales workers (Table 2).

The largest proportion of OFWs were from CALABARZON (18.4 percent of total OFWs).  Those coming from Central Luzon comprised 13.9 percent, and those from the National Capital Region, 12.8 percent. The number of OFWs from these three regions made up 45.1 percent of the total number of OFWs.  On the other hand, the smallest number of OFWs came from Caraga (1.5% of the total OFWs) (Table 3).

Saudi Arabia continued to be the leading destination of OFWs. One in every five (22.1%) OFWs worked in this country during the period April to September 2013.  The other preferred destinations were United Arab Emirates (15.4%); Singapore (7.3%); Qatar (5.8%); Hong Kong (5.1%) and other countries in Western Asia (5.0%)  (Table 3).

The total remittance sent by OFWs during the period April to September 2013 was estimated at 163.2 billion pesos. These remittances included cash sent home (118.7 billion pesos), cash brought home (35.3 billion pesos) and remittances in kind (9.1 billion pesos).  The majority of OFWs sent their remittance through banks (67.4%) while the rest through agencies or local offices (3.1%), door-to-door delivery (2.3%), friends or co-workers (0.5%) or through other means (26.8%) (Tables 4 and 5). 

The remittances sent by OFWs to their respective families may just be a part of the total salary received by the OFWs. Data on remittances in this report are based on the answers given by the survey respondents to the questions on how much cash remittance was received by the family during the period April to September 2013 from a family member who is an OFW and how much cash did this member bring home during the reference period, if any. Further, if the family received during the reference period goods and products sent by this OFW, the imputed value of such goods was included in his/her total remittance.

Of the total cash remittance sent by OFWs, the remittance sent by laborers and unskilled workers comprised the biggest share at 19.2 percent or 22.9 billion pesos, or an average remittance of 38 thousand  pesos per OFW who is an unskilled worker.  The total remittance of OFWs working in Asia, comprising 81.2 percent of all OFWs, accounted for 73.8 percent of the total cash remittances.  From other countries, the percentage shares are as follows:  North and South America, and Europe (9.9%), Australia (3.9%) and Africa (2.5%) (Tables 4 and 5).



                   National Statistician







The data presented in this press release were taken from the 2013 Survey on Overseas Filipinos (SOF). The SOF aims to derive national estimates on the number of Overseas Filipino Workers, their socio-economic characteristics and the amount and mode of remittances, in cash and in kind, received by their families. 

The OFWs covered in this report were those aged 15 years old and over and working abroad during the period April 1, 2013 to September 30, 2013. 

OFWs include overseas contract workers (OCWs) who were presently out of the country during the reference period to fulfill an overseas contract for a specific length of time or who were presently at home on vacation during the reference period but still had an existing contract to work abroad, and other Filipino workers abroad with valid working visa or work permits. Those who had no working visa or work permits (tourist, visitor, student, medical, and other types of non-immigrant visas) but were presently employed and working full time in other countries were also included.

The SOF did not ask for the total salary received by the OFWs. Hence, the remittances presented in this report may just be a part of the total salary received by the OFWs.

Starting July 2003 round of the Labor Force Survey (LFS), the 2003 Master Sample (MS) Design has been adopted. The number of sample households is around 50,000.  The SOF, being a rider of the LFS, has adopted the 2003 MS starting October 2003. Careful evaluation must be made in comparing the results of the 2013 SOF with the SOF data prior to the implementation of the 2003 MS.



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Mechelle M. Viernes
Income and Employment Statistics Division 
Social Sector Statistics Service
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